Google about to settle with FTC over privacy

Google is about to write a cheque for $22.5 million to settle claims that it bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple’s Safari.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the fine would be the largest penalty ever levied on a single company by the US Federal Trade Commission.

The charges relate to Google’s use of cookies which tricked Apple’s Safari browser so Google could monitor users that had blocked such tracking.

After the Journal got on the blower and asked Google what it was up to, the company disabled the code and said that it was all a terrible mishtake.  

The Journal pointed out that the fine, though large, is just a  tiny portion of Google’s revenues. It earns that much cash in five hours, but it is yet another bad story about Google’s privacy practices that could undermine users’ trust.

Google now faces more fines from other governments and is being investigated by the European Union to determine if the company complies with Europe’s stricter privacy laws.